My Journey as a Self-Taught Programmer

My Journey as a Self-Taught Programmer

The Genesis

It all began the moment I stepped into high school the first year that I first fell in love with computers. I was 13 years then and I knew I had to be in the technology industry besides performing well and being one of the best in Computer Studies. I went on to take Computer as one of the three added options to the seven compulsory subjects needed to make ten for the final two years of Junior High (OLevel) according to the education curriculum.


I loved computers and I remember writing my first article in the school magazine and my contribution was about Facebook buying Whatsapp for a whopping 19 Billion. I felt great but little did I know that it was my initial step and journey to tech blogging. I majored in Physics, Chemistry and Maths in my last two years of ALevel. I wish the Ugandan curriculum allowed Computer Studies at an advanced level as a major subject, I would have replaced Chemistry for Computer. Its there but only available as an optional and minor for students having Math in their combination.


I was a clubs person and was in various clubs including Red Cross, Interact, Youth Emporium and I happened also to be the Computer Club President and one of my major highlights was when I led a group of tech enthusiasts and innovators (students) to the prestigious ACIA Awards hosted at Serena International Hotel in Kampala all the way from Mbarara. These awards attract innovators and creatives in the tech field organized by UCC for the best innovative minds.

Ronnie at Acia Awards in 2016

We did not win long story cut short but were second runners up and awarded various gifts, T-shirts, Storage Drives, etc. Even though we did not win, I still enjoy and recall those wonderful moments and in fact, my picture is still up on the ACIA website corousel . Lol, see the image/screenshot below


The Drop-out

Joining Campus was not easy as I had some personal issues to work out. I had been offered Bachelor of Information Systems at Makerere University (CoCIS).

MUK.jpg I dropped out of University in my freshman year! So, I got a petty job as an assistant receptionist at Prestige Apartments where I met this Indian boss who was into software engineering and had all these programming books. I later found myself with an entire library of those books (C++, Java, computer fundamentals etc) Yeah, I worked for them since I was interested in the subject and all my earnings went to that since they were expensive.

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The Lazy me

Honestly, I did not read those books until last year during Covid even though they were outdated.

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In late 2016, I joined Watoto as a volunteer in the Finance and Administration Office because that was the available opportunity to show my data entry skills and basic administration skills. So, I had to learn to account informally and I am glad I know how to debit and credit now. I do still volunteer with them up to this day of writing.

The Eureka

covidyear.jpg By last year (2020), when the world was hit by Covid, I had not started any coding but deep down I knew I was supposed to learn how to code since I was techy. So I spent the first 3 months of lockdown watching series after series until one day I was watching TV news and got challenged by a form six graduate who was doing something productive in lockdown.

This is the same year I was supposed to graduate given I stayed in School

The Active Me


To cut the story short, I stopped watching movies and told myself to watch only educative tutorials and thats when I also started learning HTML & CSS in August 2020 and spent a few weeks and upgraded to basics in Javascript and produced my own site in the browser and was very excited!! I got chills & showed off to my friends. I later went on to learn basics in Computer Science, Networking in September & October last year all online. In November, I started learning Python Programing because at first I was drawn to it by its name which later changed and I fell in love with its simplicity and kept researching and comparing it with other languages.

The Resources

Untitled Design (3).png Some of the resources I used included W3Schools, Traversy Media, MDN when I was starting. I later enrolled in the free Outbox program of web development where I met like-minded people who were also learning how to code which pushed me more.

Earlier this year I focused more on programming with Python since I fell for it and I enjoyed web scraping sites for data, it was fun for me until I purposed to deliver my first full-fledged website online on my birthday which I achieved. ( Check out Octachart for more information ) Visit my Github to see my repos.

Around February this year, I got a chance to be a part of a training program organized by Innovation Village and Code IT Insitute in New Jersey which I have taken on since then. We are learning Python, AWS & Blockchain and allow me to brag a little that I am already PCEP by Python Institute and looking forward to AWS certified practitioner exam any time from now. I have also taken a blockchain exam for basics.

The Lifelong Learner

code now.png Learning to program isnt an overnight journey, but it can be streamlined and made more exciting with the right approach, it can be overwhelming if you are new since you don't know where to start from and there is no clear path with over a million technologies仄. I am still learning and currently, I got another offer to learn basic android development in A GADS Scholarship, a program organised by Google Africa, Andela and Plural Sight and I do love the whole process since I have embraced learning and being a self-taught programmer, it pushes me more and I am glad that I am sharing my story with you.

Parting Shot

Trust me, the beginning is not always easy as I was seeing stars and things started to make sense later on. I kept looking at code until it made sense! trust-the-process-camp-flag.png When I was learning, a friend shared with me "Learn how to Learn videos" which helped me streamline my goals and this is very essential if you are teaching yourself in order to remain focused.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Mahatma Gandhi

Keep pushing, learning and what I realized is when you learn one programming language, it becomes easier to learn others, just get the basics in one programming language and all you need to learn is the syntax of the other. What you also need to know is that programming is hard especially if you are self-taught like me but you need to trust the process!

Happy Coding | Happy Learning

Ronnie Atuhaire